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Q: I have a stand of “trembling birch ” trees that are definitely dying a little more each year & want to save them. I was told that the roots were impacted by construction debris/extra soil dumping during the home building. Some have dead branches others still have abundant leaves. They are in a hot dry area in summer with snow in winter (Kamloops area). Should I add lots of fir mulch to the roots to aid in moisture retention & protection in winter?
I believe you might be referring to quaking or trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides). This tree is commonly found throughout North America especially near damp (not soggy) sites in poor, gravelly soils. It’s very fast growing, but unfortunately tends to experience all sorts of insect and disease problems which limits life span. Disturbing the root site with construction debris does not help either. Protective fencing should be erected at least to the outside of the drip-line (ref: B.C. Landscape Standard 7th ed).